15 security men, 1 civilian killed in major Naxal ambush
In a brazen daytime attack, Naxals on Tuesday ambushed a security team killing 15 personnel including 11 of the CRPF and also a civilian in a chilling reminder of the 2010 massacre of 76 securitymen in the same area in the worst-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. The attack at 10.15 a.m. at Jeerum Nullah, 400 km from Raipur, came when a contingent of 44 joint security forces personnel was trapped and struck by heavy fire and landmine blasts while it was out for an operational task in the jungles of Tongapal, close to the Dantewada and Jeerum Ghati axis, notorious for Naxal violence. The location of the major ambush by a large group of Naxals is close to the Jeeram Ghati area in Sukma district in the Bastar region where the top Congress leadership of the State was wiped out by Maoists in May 2013 when they killed 25 people.
“11 CRPF personnel and four state policemen were killed. Inspector Subhash of CRPF was leading the squad and he has also been killed,” DIG (SIB) of Chattisgarh police Dipanshu Kabra told reporters. A civilian was also killed in the attack, he said, adding three people have been injured. An assistant commandant rank officer of CRPF is also believed to among the victims, sources said. Chhattisgarh’s Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence) Mukesh Gupta said the joint team was attacked by a large group of Naxals numbering close to 100. A large manhunt has been launched to nab the attackers who escaped in the thick jungles.
It was not immediately known if the Naxals had suffered any casualties. Police sources said the deaths of the securitymen were caused due to bullet injuries. Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has cancelled his scheduled programme and convened an emergency meeting of security officials in Raipur. “The area is heavily mined and hence reinforcements are treading cautiously,” CRPF Inspector-General (Operations) in Delhi Zulfiquar Hasan told PTI. The incident took place in the same area where Naxals had killed 76 police personnel in April 2010, the biggest blow to security forces till this time in anti-Naxal operations. In New Delhi, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said details are still awaited.
The squad that included 30 CRPF and 14 State police personnel was conducting a road opening task when Naxals triggered landmine blasts and firing. Sources said two IAF helicopters have been sent in from Jagdalpur and Raipur to the ambush area with reinforcements drawn from the CoBRA battalion and CRPF. According to initial information, the joint security squad was deployed near the Takbada village for a route sanitising duty for smooth movement of a convoy of the security forces. The jawans of CRPF belong to its 80th battalion which is deployed for anti-Naxal operations in the State. The State police is suspecting that a group of Naxals who may have crossed into Chattisgarh from Odisha could be behind the deadly attack. According to police officials, Naxals have looted at least 15 automatic weapons belonging to the jawans.
Police also suspect that ultras might have booby-trapped body of a slain policeman, which is lying near the Nullah. A team of explosive experts has been dispatched to the spot to defuse the bomb. Officials further said that security personnel were on alert after local unit gathered intelligence on the presence of naxals from the state and neighbouring Odisha in the area. State Governor Shekhar Dutt has condemned the incident, terming it “a cruel and ghastly act”.
INDIA: ADVANTAGE SQUANDERED IN BIHAR – ANALYSIS
In the night of February 22, 2014, around 150 heavily armed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) cadres attacked the Amas Police Station in the Gaya District of Bihar, bringing traffic to a grinding halt on both the New Delhi and Kolkata side of the Grand Trunk Road. The exchange of fire between the Maoists and the Police continued for nearly two hours before the Maoists retreated. Though the Maoists failed to inflict any casualty on the Police side, a civilian taxi driver was killed in the crossfire.
Reports suggested that the two sides exchanged about 600 rounds of fire. On December 31, 2014, a group of nearly 50 Maoist cadres had attacked a highway construction site in Gaya District and torched construction machinery. On July 17, 2013, at least three Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) troopers and two guards of a private road construction company were killed and seven others were injured, when over 125 Maoist cadres attacked the base camp of the company at Goh in Aurangabad District.
On June 13, 2013, a group of around 200 Maoist cadres had attacked the Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express at the Bhalui halt near Jamui District, killing three persons and injuring six passengers. Swarming attacks have become a rarity in most other Maoist-afflicted States, but their persistence in Bihar demonstrates both the capacity of the rebels in the State, and their efforts to stage a comeback there. Nine of 13 such incidents recorded in 2013 occurred in Bihar alone, with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh accounting for two each. This comes at a time when the State had the opportunity to go after a substantially weakened Maoist network.
After securing some tentative but significant gains against the Maoists in 2011 and 2012, Bihar appears to have squandered the opportunity, with its anti-Maoist campaign losing focus. There simply cannot be any acceptable explanation for a State losing 27 Security Force personnel [Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) data] to Maoist attacks in 2013 without inflicting a single casualty on the Maoists. According UMHA data, a total of 69 persons – 42 civilians and 27 SF personnel – were killed in Bihar in Naxalite (Left Wing Extremism) violence in 2013, as against 49 persons – 34 civilians, 10 SF personnel and five extremists – were killed in 2012.
Significantly, this yields a 270 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) escalation in SF fatalities, even as the Maoists managed to reduce their own losses to zero. Civilian killings by Maoists also increased significantly. Partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) confirms these trends. However, SATP records two Maoist fatalities in 2013, of cadres killed by the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), a breakaway faction of the CPI-Maoist, which has turned into its bitter rival.
In the first two months of 2014, the Maoists have already killed at least five civilians while two Maoists have been killed. Prima facie, the Maoist problem in Bihar appears to be worsening again. Apart from the adverse fatalities trends, the arrest and surrender data is also discouraging. 311 Maoists were arrested in 2013, as against 426 in 2012, while just three Maoists surrendered in 2013, as against 42 in 2012.
Post-Sukma ambush, alert in 3 Maoist-hit districts of UP
Lucknow: An alert has been sounded in the three Maoist-hit districts of Uttar Pradesh following the Naxal attack in Sukma district of Chattisgarh on Tuesday. Talks have been held with the regional coordinator of the central paramilitary forces SN Sawat and alert has been sounded in view of today’s attack in Chattishgarh , a home department spokesman said. Alert was sounded in Sonebhadra, Chandauli and Mirzapur the three-Naxal hit districts in UP, the spokesman added.
Chhattisgarh Maoist attack leaves security establishment in a tizzy
Raipur, March 11, (ANI): Talking to media persons following the daring Maoist attack on security personnel in the Tongpa-Jheerum area of Chhattisgarh’s Jagadalpur District on Monday, R.K. Vij, Additional Director General (ADG), (Naxal Operations), said that full picture of the extent of the attack on security personnel is yet to be ascertained. “Senior security personnel have already reached the spot where the Naxal attack occured. Only then, will we be able to tell you the exact number of casualties. Initial information, which is trickling in from our sources, suggests that three security personnel were dead, and their bodies have been recovered. Another three, who were injured, have been rushed to Tongpal,” Vij said.
“The Maoist attack on a team of CRPF and State Reseve Police force took place when they were on regular duty and were inspecting the roads. The epicenter of the attack was barely five kilometres away from the Tongpa-Jheerum area,” Vij added. E.N. Ram Mohan Rao, former Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF), who is also an expert on Naxal operations, suggested that the government must delve deeper as to why Left-Wing Extremists (LWE) were fighting against the state, and called for urgent remedy.
“Tell me, why does a common person take up guns. It is because when he has been pushed too hard against the wall by the state machinery, that he starts acting against it. Hence, we must first understand the root cause behind which the Maoists are fighting against the state.” Rao said. On the ground, he squarely blamed the CRPF officers for lack of understanding and poor combat techniques for the tragedy.